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The 20 Best Low-Carb Craft Beers for Keto Diets

The 20 Best Low-Carb Craft Beers for Keto Diets

Beer is not always the enemy of waistlines and active lifestyles. A variety of beers on the market can be part of any weight loss plan, even the popular keto diet. But it must be stressed that beer “can” be part of this diet, as it would be inaccurate to say “always.” It’s a matter of knowing your body and finding the best low-carb craft beers for keto diets. Thankfully, there are plenty beers out there from which to choose. We've outlined the 5 best beers for keto diets.

What is the keto diet? “Keto is the abbreviated name for the medical term, ketosis,” explains Kylene Bogden, NBA dietitian and CEO of FWDfuel Nutrition Consulting. “When an individual is following a ketogenic diet or in a state of ketosis, he or she is in the metabolic state where the body is using fat as its primary source of fuel.” People following a keto diet are either in ketosis or out of it; often they know this by how they feel, whether their breath has a distinct fruity smell, or by measurements taken from urine testing strips.

Ketosis is a natural process the body uses to survive when food intake is low. During this state of ketosis people produce ketones, which are created from the breakdown of fats in the liver. The ultimate goal of a well-maintained and closely monitored keto diet is to force one’s body into this metabolic state. This is done not by starving bodies of calories, but by starving it of carbohydrates.

The keto diet can go by a few different names, such as the low-carb-high-fat (LCHF), and it’s often listed alongside diets like paleo and Atkins, but these latter two differ in their approach, fuel sources and macro nutrient targets. On the keto diet, a typical plan derives calories from macro nutrients according to these percentages: 60-70 percent from fat, moderate protein intake, and very, very low intake of carbohydrates (at most perhaps 30 grams a day). Hence why beer has a delicate role in those trying to lose weight on the keto diet.

 

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“No matter what nutrition approach you decide to follow,” says Bogden, “your plan should always be individualized. When following this approach, carbohydrates must be kept low (5-10 percent of total calories) but carbohydrate intake and tolerance level will differ from person to person. Consuming low-carb beer may work for some when following a ketogenic diet, while others find themselves falling out of a state of ketosis after five sips.”

Most people who follow the keto diet for successful weight loss do so under the guidance of a professional dietitian or nutritionist who can design a plan meant for specific goals and body types, including making recommendations about beer intake.  

If beer will work for a person on a keto diet, it’s a best practice to choose the lowest-carb beers on the market, typically ones that have five grams of carbohydrates or less per 12-ounce serving, as do all of the following beers on this list.

From most carbs to least, here are some of the best low-carbs for the keto diet:


PrimeTime

Bridge Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 1.5 grams

ABV: 5 percent

Calories: 110

PrimeTime, which announces itself with the tagline "No Compromises" is a crisp and refreshing craft lager brewed in Vancouver, British Columbia. Featuring some of craft beer lovers' favorite hop varietals, such as juicy Citra and El Dorado, this 5 percent ABV brew clocks in at 110 calories and an extremly low 1.5 grams of carbs per 12-ounce can. A perfect "go-to" low-carb craft beer for keto dieters.


Bright Tangerine

Devils Backbone Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 2 grams

ABV: 4 percent

Calories: 90

This extremely low-carb craft beer from Devils Backbone Brewing Co. in Lexington, Virginia is a spritzy, tart ale that's termed as a "Sparkling Ale" by the brewery. Featuring only 2 grams of carbs per serving, this delicious brew is one of the lowest-carb beers on the list. This refreshing brew is available year-round, so be sure to nab a sixer wherever Devils Backbone beers are sold.


Scrimshaw Pilsner

North Coast Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 2 grams

ABV: 4.7 percent

IBU: 22

Calories: 100

Coming in as the lowest-carb beer on the list is Scrimshaw Pilsner. Interestingly, it is also the oldest beer on the menu. It has been brewed by North Coast Brewing Co. as part of its core lineup of beers since 1988.

“It is the most popular pilsner in the country,” says Patrick Broderick, North Coast Brewing Co. Brewmaster. “Scrimshaw has a subtle hop character, a crisp, clean palate, and a dry finish. We created Scrimshaw to offer beer lovers a fresh and unique take on pilsner style ales. It is brewed in the European tradition using Munich malt and Hallertauer and Tettnang hops.”

Over the decades, Scrimshaw certainly has earned accolades. In 1992 it won Gold at GABF in the American Lager Ale category. In won Gold again in 2001 at the North American Brewers Association competition. Added to these Scrimshaw has another half-dozen Silver medals at various respectable competitions.


Rosé Lager

Surly Brewing Co.

Carbs: 2.25 grams

ABV: 5.2 percent

Calories: 127

The only Rosé wine-inspired beer on this list, this style of sour beers has recently taken off in popularity due to its refined nature and elegant flavor profile. Surly Brewing Co., which is know for its more brash IPAs brewed out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, hit a home run with this zesty and delicious lightly tart lager with black currants and strawberries, which features just a notch over 2 carbs per serving. Excellent for beer fans on the keto diet that also appreciate a fine Rosé wine now and then.


IC Light

Pittsburgh Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 2.8 grams

ABV: 4.2 percent

Calories: 95

Pittsburgh Brewing Co., also known as Iron City Brewing Co., is one of the most famous local breweries in Pittsburgh. Though a bit more of a large-scale producer than most craft brands, this regional powerhouse makes crisp, clean brews such as I.C. Light, which has far fewer carbs per serving than many of the most famous macro examples. With under 100 calories and only 2.8 grams of carbs per serving, this low-carb brew is one that those undergoing ketosis should have no qualms about quaffing.


DayTime IPA

Lagunitas Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 3 grams

ABV: 4 percent

Calories: 98

Lagunitas, the storied brewery in Petaluma, California has recently revamped its popular Session IPA to make it more friendly to those that are employing the keto diet to lose weight. While some estimates show this beer to have 10 grams of carbs per serving, a quick glance at the revamped can design will give you all the information you need regarding this easy-drinking brew's carbohydrate count.


Shiner Ruby Redbird

Spoetzl Brewery

Carbs: 3.1 grams

ABV: 4.01 percent

Calories: 95

The first of two Shiner beers by Spoetzl Brewery on this list, Ruby Redbird is a popular year-round beer from the Texas brewery brewed with ruby red grapefruit. A sessionable fruit beer that's easy-drinking and thirst-quenching, While available year-round, this release is perfectly suited for the warmer months and serves as an excellent poolside crusher.


Light Lager Beer

Southbound Brewing Co.

Carbs: 3.5 grams

ABV: 4.2 percent

Calories: 100

Southbound Brewing Co. in Savannah, Georgia has recently released this aptly named brew, which explicitly states what its style is right on the can. A smooth and effervescent craft light lager, Southbound crafted an excellent brew for those that enjoy sessionable light lagers, as well as a beer that will allow keto dieters to imbibe their favorite beverage while not breaking ketosis.


Slightly Mighty India Pale Ale

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Carbs: 3.6 grams

ABV: 4 percent

IBU: 30

Calories: 95

Poised to attract the calorie- and carb-counting beer drinkers, Dogfish Head is releasing Slightly Mighty IPA in 12-ounce cans in select states in April. This IPA carries tropical aromas, including pineapple, mango, coconut and citrus. Slightly Mighty IPA is building on Dogfish Head’s previous release of SeaQuench Ale, billed as the most “thirst-quenching” ale, which comes brimming with electrolytes. It also happened to become Dogfish Head’s fasting-growing beer in its history.

Slightly Mighty IPA uses one of the hallmark keto-friendly sweeteners – monk fruit. Sugars are simple carbohydrates and are therefore real keto-killers. For reference, one tablespoon of maple syrup contains over 50 calories and 13 grams of carbs. 100 percent pure maple syrup is acceptable on the paleo diet, but it could wreck someone in ketosis. One teaspoon of monk fruit sweetener has only 0.4 grams of carbohydrates, so it would take about 80 teaspoons of monk fruit sweetener just to consume 30 grams of carbs, which is a common daily allowance on the keto diet.

Later this year, SeaQuench and Slightly Mighty will join SuperEIGHT, 5.3 percent fruit-infused sour, and Namaste White, a 4.8 percent Belgian-style wheat beer, in a variety 12-pack Dogfish Head has dubbed its Activity Box.


Shiner Light Blonde

Spoetzl Brewery

Carbs: 3.8 grams

ABV: 4.2 percent

Calories: 99

The second and final beer by Spoetzl Brewery that's under 4 carbs per serving, Shiner Light Blonde is one of the brewery's most notable flagship brews and serves as a craft beer replacement for the juggernaut macro lagers. Full-bodied and flavorful with only 99 calories and 3.8 carbs, this beer is a godsend for keto dieters.


Brut IPA

Brewery Ommegang

Carbs: 3.9 grams

ABV: 6.3 percent

Calories: 140

Another Brut IPA on this list, Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York released this low-carb brew late last year, and it has flown under the radar for many keto dieters. With under 4 carbs per serving and the bone-dry, lip-smacking mouthfeel befitting of its Brut IPA style, craft beer fans on the keto diet should seek out this lightly hoppy, champagne-inspired IPA.


Kahana Blonde

Kona Brewing Co.

Carbs: 4 grams

ABV: 4.4 percent

Calories: 99

As a Blonde Ale, Kona Brewing Co.'s Kahana features a bit more complexity and flavor than, say, a macro lager might to discerning keto dieters. With a light but spritzy mouthfeel and featuring flavorful Galaxy and Citra hops, this is a delectable low-carb craft brew.


Enterprise Dry-Hopped Lager

Green's Beer 

Carbs: 4 grams

ABV: 4.1 percent

Calories: 66

One way in which brewers can lower the carbohydrate counts in their beers is through crafting gluten-free beers. Green's Beer has long been at the forefront of this burgeoning scene, and the brewery's Enterprise Dry-Hopped Lager has a minuscule 66 calories and only 4 grams of carbs per serving.


Da Shootz

Deschutes Brewery 

Carbs: 4.2 grams

ABV: 4 percent

Calories: 99

A recent release from Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, Da Shootz is a Craft American Pilsner brewed with a scintillating hop bill of Tettnang, Lemondrop and Azacca to offer up zesty, slightly spicy and lip-smacking citrus notes to this low-carb craft beer.


Easy Sport

Boulevard Brewing Co.

Carbs: 4.5 grams

ABV: 4.1 percent

Calories: 99

Boulevard Brewing Co. in Kansas City, Missouri recently unveiled this easy-drinking brew that's crafted for those who enjoy active lifestyles. A clean, smooth-bodied Blonde Ale, Easy Sport is finished with tangerine peel and electrolytes to help drinkers quench their thirst after a demanding workout. Slightly tart and tangy, this low-calorie beer slots in perfectly into a keto diet.


Allagash Saison

Allagash Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 4.8 grams

ABV: 6.1 percent

Calories: 183

One thing that might surprise keto dieters about this list is the thrilling variety of beer styles present throughout. When one thinks of beers, the first thing that comes to mind might be: "Sure, that's scrumptious, but how many calories/carbs does it have? I know it's unhealthy." For these beers that is not the case, and even a rich, flavorful and trademark craft beer style like Saison is represented here by Allagash Brewing Co.'s Saison, which clocks in at 4.8 grams of carbs per serving. Zesty and lightly spicy with a faint trace of citrus and pepper, this brew is sure to quench thirst without breaking the carb bank for dieters. (Photo Courtesy Flickr/Allagash Brewing)


Repeat Kölsch

Sufferfest Brewing Co.

Carbs: 5 grams

ABV: 3.5 percent

IBU: 25

Calories: 95

Sufferfest made headlines already in 2019 by being Sierra Nevada Brewing Company’s first-ever acquisition. Sierra Nevada, the third-largest craft brewery in the U.S. purchased San Francisco-based Sufferfest, which was launched in mid-2016 as a woman-owned, self-distributed “functional” beer brand.

As with most all low-carb beers, the secondary selling point to carb count seems to be flavor. Arguably, those on the keto diet are looking for that beer that won’t throw them out of ketosis and tastes great. For the Sufferfest Repeat Kolsch, that extra something comes from the bee pollen that’s added to the beer.

“We love it,” says Margaret Link, Director of Marketing for Sufferfest Beer Company, “because it imparts a great honeyed, floral aroma to the lite Kolsch, giving it more complexity and dimension than most low-cal, low-carb beers out there.”

Repeat Kolsch is one of the beers, of its 3,000-barrel annual production, that is billed as “Beer with Benefits.” And like all Sufferfest beers, it is gluten-removed, having <10 parts/million gluten.


Brut IPA

Four Peaks Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 5 grams

ABV: 6.7 percent

Calories: 152

The final Brut IPA on our list, Four Peaks Brewing Co. in Tempe, Arizona recently released this bone-dry IPA to wide acclaim, and its faint fruity elements in both flavor and aroma (as well as only 5 grams of carbs per serving) will likely keep keto dieters coming back for more.


Ultimate Light Golden Ale

Omission Brewing Co. 

Carbs: 5 grams

ABV: 4.2 percent

Calories: 99

This gluten-free brand from Widmer Bros. Brewing Co., a member of the Craft Brew Alliance rolled out this low-carb, low-calorie option for active drinkers in 2017. An immediate hit with active craft beer drinkers, Ultimate Light is “the perfect choice for beer drinkers who are looking for a lighter option but still want to enjoy the full flavor of a delicious craft beer,” according to a release from Omission.

When it debuted in 2017, Ultimate Light joined the brewery’s lineup of gluten-free beers that are perfect for celiacs and gluten-intolerant craft beer fans: Omission IPA, Omission Pale Ale and Omission Lager.

Featuring only 99 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates, this full-flavored, easy-drinking ale is perfect for beachfront frolicking or post-workout recovery.

“We wanted to create a craft beer that gave active consumers a better-tasting option and one with the additional benefit of being crafted to remove gluten,” said Omission Brewmaster Joe Casey in a press release. “Omission Ultimate Light is an incredibly versatile beer that delivers the complete craft beer experience without weighing you down.”


Vagabond Pale Ale

BrewDog 

Carbs: 5 grams

ABV: 4.5 percent

As has already been stated, putting beers through a gluten removal process can considerably cut carbs during the process. BrewDog, the feisty beer punks out of Scotland, have created their own gluten-reduced beer with Vagabond Pale Ale. With 4.5 percent ABV and 55 IBUs, as well as Amarillo and Centennial hops, this beer features all the piney, citrusy hop character one would expect of a pale ale but only 5 carbs!


Brut-Hero India Pale Ale

Revolution Brewing

Carbs: 5 grams

ABV: 7 percent

IBUs: 35

This limited release from Revolution Brewing hit all eight states in its distribution footprint. If one was looking for a beer that pushes the envelope for ABV while balancing low-carbs, this would be a good choice. In fact, this beer offers the highest alcohol-by-volume on the list.

Being a rendition of the recently popularized Brut IPA style, Brut-Hero is sparkling with white grape, passion fruit and lemon notes and capped with an extra-dry champagne-like finish.

Though this beer is a limited release, John Carruthers, Marketing Manager at Revolution Brewing says that “it will likely reappear in a variety pack soon.”


Eazy Teazy

Lakefront Brewery

Carbs: 5.85 grams

ABV: 3.4 percent

Calories: 99

The last brew on our list comes with a caveat: Though we've aimed to keep beers under 5 grams of carbs per serving, sometimes it's just not easy to do! Most craft beers are jam-packed with carbohydrates, which is, sadly, what makes them the delectable treats that they are. For our final brew, Lakefront Brewery's Eazy Teazy, this beer just creeps over our 5 gram threshold for carbs. Brewed with green tea and oolong tea and Zeus and Lemondrop hops, this zesty and tangy ale serves as the luscious treat (in terms of carbs) for craft beer fans on the keto diet.


So where are some of the other iconic “Light/Lite” beers on this list? Sorry, not all of them cut it for ketosis. For example, Bud Light, the best-selling beer in America, clocks in at 6.6 carbs and 110 calories. Coors Lite plays nicer at 5 carbs and 102 calories per 12 ounces. That said, Miller Lite does get a solid nod for low-swinging 3.2 carbs and 96 calories.

With this kind of variety of low-carb beers already available, and the fact that the top craft beer breweries are making, or buying, more health-focused offerings, those following the keto diet to lose weight won’t have to give up their favorite beverage as long as their body and nutritionist allow it. More so, they can choose beers based on taste, style, tradition or trend.

“At the end of the day, my recommendation is to know your body,” says Kylene Bogden. “I would not recommend drinking beer daily, but instead enjoy in moderation and accompany with the proper macronutrient ratio.”

Comments

dstarcher's picture
Great article. This info is very helpful for beer lovers following a low carb diet. I did find a couple of inaccuracies, however. Slightly Mighty is 3.6 grams of carbs per serving, not 2.6 grams. And Sünner Kölsch is 2.1 grams of carbs per 100 ml, per the brewery. It took me forever to find it and then I was quite disappointed to find out that the 500 ml bottles were 10.5 grams of carbs each. Still on the low side but too much for me while doing keto.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi dstarcher, Good catch on the Slightly Mighty, that change has been made. The addition to the Sunner Kölsch has also been made, which means one must share a bottle with another to stay in ketosis (easier said than done)!

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Comments

dstarcher's picture
Great article. This info is very helpful for beer lovers following a low carb diet. I did find a couple of inaccuracies, however. Slightly Mighty is 3.6 grams of carbs per serving, not 2.6 grams. And Sünner Kölsch is 2.1 grams of carbs per 100 ml, per the brewery. It took me forever to find it and then I was quite disappointed to find out that the 500 ml bottles were 10.5 grams of carbs each. Still on the low side but too much for me while doing keto.
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi dstarcher, Good catch on the Slightly Mighty, that change has been made. The addition to the Sunner Kölsch has also been made, which means one must share a bottle with another to stay in ketosis (easier said than done)!

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